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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

SOUTHERN    FRANCE    AGAIN
rich we decided that, at least, we must make a
good impression.   Three of us actually went:   Sir
Hugo, who took us, a Russian Count, and myself.
We brought two motor-cars with us.   The house was
enormous with a huge marble hall with life-sized
bronze statues in Watteauesque costumes.   Mr. and
Mrs. Hudnut were there, Valentino and his wife,
and two English people from Nice.   Everyone was
rather nervous.    In the middle of the room was a
grand piano.   Sir Hugo was looking very imposing
in an enormous check overcoat that looked rather
like a horse blanket,  and of which he was very
proud.   He explained to the company that I sang
sea shanties and other songs.    I was horrified that
I should be made to perform.    Valentino sat me
down at the piano and sat on the piano stool with
me.   He poured me out some whisky to encourage
me.   His wife, Natasha Rambova, sat on the other
side of me.    I have no voice but the songs were
funny and I can sing in tune, so I got away with it.
I found Valentino charming.   He was tall and fine
looking,  but,   of course,   his   face   was photogenic
and looked much finer on the screen than it did in
real life.   At this time I had never seen him on the
cinema as I hardly ever went at all.   I think he was
rather pleasantly surprised that I didn't go. into
raptures over his performances on the screen,    I
talked to him a good deal about myself, which
seemed to amuse him and we got on very well to-
gether.   After tea and some cocktails we drove away
to a cafe to find our friends, who were anxiously
waiting to hear how we had got on.   I was taken to
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